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  • Shawn Gerbers

Deuteronomy 4:15-19 - Watch Yourself

Worshipping something less than God seems silly, but "watch yourself..." because idolatry is "enticing."

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Read Deuteronomy 4:15-19

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Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 96

Q. What is God’s will for us

in the second commandment?

A. That we in no way make

any image of God

nor worship him in any other way

than he has commanded

in his Word.



When God was leading the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt, he led them by day in a pillar of cloud, and by night in a pillar of fire. The people knew that the Lord was with them as they looked up and saw the pillars.

When things became difficult, whether it was the Egyptians chasing them, food becoming scarce, water not readily available, the people would cry out to God, and he would respond. He never left them nor forsook them. He was with them day by day.

Yet, they still found the need to create a golden calf and worship the golden calf (Exodus 32). That golden calf was made by their hands after God had given them the Ten Commandments. They lacked faith, and their trust in God wavered, so they made a golden calf and worshiped that golden calf.

In Deuteronomy, God is giving the Law to the people once again, and he is ensuring that they know what he commands of them. One of those commands forbids idolatry. Idolatry is the worship of an object as a god. Worshiping the golden calf was wrong. Worshiping the sun, moon and the stars is wrong. It is all idolatry.

Dig Deeper

It is easy to read this passage today and think, “Why would the Israelites create a golden calf, or any other object, and worship it?” God gave us the second commandment, and reinforced that commandment with passages like Deuteronomy 4:15-19 because it is so incredibly easy to fall into idolatry.

The Israelites had been led by God in a pillar of fire and a pillar of cloud, and yet they still created for themselves a golden calf. They had witnessed the plagues and God’s amazing power, and in a moment of weakness they turned from the Lord.

We are forbidden from making an idol of any object. It may not look like a man or woman. It may not look like an animal, including birds or fish. We are not to make an idol of the sun, moon or stars. God has created all of these things, and we are not to make an idol of any of them.

This week, we are going to spend time with idolatry, delving into it and gaining a better understanding of what it looks like. Idolatry today may not take the form of a golden calf, but it is just as prevalent today as it was when God first gave these commands. We are to worship the Lord alone, and not any idols.

  • ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Most Holy God, you are God alone;

  • ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Lord, I only want to worship you, not an idol or image made of you;



Read the New Testament in a year, a chapter a day - 2 Corinthians 4


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